Zukiswa Pikoli | Maverick Citizen | 19 June 2020 |
“In South Africa, the struggle against State Capture and corruption remains part of the struggle for human rights and social justice – we will work hard to ensure that institutions like the Zondo Commission are effective,” insists the Civil Society Working Group on State Capture.
Although the deepening Covid-19 crisis has obliterated almost all other news over the last 100 days, prosecuting corruption and establishing the truth about State Capture remains as important to South Africa’s future as controlling the pandemic. This week’s arrests in the VBS scandal were a reminder of the high stakes involved, as well as of the huge social cost to the theft of billions of rand from poor people.
Amid mounting concerns about the lack of transparency regarding the work of the Zondo Commission during this period, on 27 May 2020, Civil Society Working Group on State Capture (CSWG) wrote a letter to Deputy Chief Justice (DCJ) Raymond Zondo to enquire about the progress of the commission’s hearings. The CSWG is an influential coalition of more than 23 civil society organisations from various sectors that has monitored and engaged with the commission, including presenting it with an Agenda for Action in February 2020. Information about and submissions by the CSWG can be found here.
While the CSWG commended the work of the commission thus far, it expressed concern over the lack of information about the measures it had taken to continue its work during the Covid-19 lockdown. It highlighted that the public had a continuing right to know what was being done.
The CSWG called on the commission to release interim findings which, they argued, would “help to facilitate accountability and strengthen the work of our law enforcement agencies”.
Their letter to Zondo argued that the work of the Zondo Commission had become even more urgent now “when emergency procurement processes may present potential avenues for corruption, patronage and ongoing State Capture”.